Car Accident Attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia
Devastating Effects of a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is a frightening experience that can drastically change your life within seconds. Such an accident can cause debilitating physical injuries, emotional trauma, and costly property damage. Furthermore, a serious car accident injury that prevents you from returning to your job (or that limits the number of hours you can work) can be financially devastating. Even an accident that occurs at a low speed, or that doesn’t result in much damage to your car, can cause physical injuries.
As with all types of personal injuries, our firm handles car accident cases on a contingency fee. There is no fee or cost to you unless you receive compensation.
This page helps you better understand settlement compensation payouts in car accident cases and explains what our attorneys do to maximize the verdicts and settlement amount for our clients.
A Car Accident Claim Is About Compensation
The purpose of bringing an injury claim is to get compensation for the harm done to you. You wish the crash had never occurred. But now you also want to get as much compensation as the law will allow for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other harms and losses you have suffered.
This is what our lawyers will do for you. We fight with our power and experience to help you get the maximum compensation possible.
Damages for an Auto Accident
Under Georgia auto tort law, a negligent driver who causes an accident can be held liable for all the harm caused by the accident. Injury victims in Georgia auto accident claims are entitled to recover damages for the following:
Car accident plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for any wages or income that they lost because of injuries sustained in the accident. This includes both past and future lost wages/income. Lost income is also available for some family members in wrongful death cases.
Plaintiffs can recover damages from the at-fault party's insurance company for any past or future medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Georgia follows the “modified comparative negligence” rule. This basically means that you can recover compensation for damages from any party that is found to be more at fault than you. However, if you are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you are not allowed to recover anything at all. If you are less than 50 percent at fault you could potentially recovery 100 percent of the available compensation minus your percentage of liability. For example, if you are deemed to be 10 percent at fault, you could potentially receive 90 percent of the available compensation.
Pain and Suffering
This is what injury cases are really about. Pain and suffering is the biggest harm in any personal injury case. This is money to compensate the car accident victim for the amount of physical and mental suffering caused by their injuries. The more serious and painful the injury, the more pain and suffering damages. If a case goes to trial, pain and suffering damages are determined by the judge or jury.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Georgia imposes a time limit on how long prospective plaintiffs can wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit. So there is a limited about of time to formalize a claim. This type of legal filing deadline is known as a statute of limitations. If the claim is not filed before the limitation deadline expires, the plaintiff losses the right to file. In Georgia, personal injury lawsuits are generally subject to a 2-year statute of limitations O.C.G.A § 9-3-33.
What this means is that in most Georgia car accidents claims, the injured person must file their personal injury claim within 2 years from the date of the accident or they will be legally barred from filing.
How Much Is My Car Accident Lawsuit Worth?
The value of a car accident case in Georgia varies depending on several factors. Among those factors are; the type and severity of your injury, your percentage of negligence (fault), and what the average medical costs are for your type of injury.
The list below illustrates typical settlement amounts for various injuries:
Minor Injuries – Typical Settlement Averages $2,500 - $25,000. Common minor injuries are; back strains, soft tissue injuries, headaches and whiplash.
Moderate Longer-Lasting Injuries – Typical Settlement Averages $50,000 - $75,000. Common moderate injuries are; broken bones, torn ligaments and those requiring extensive physical therapy or surgery to recover.
Serious Injuries - Typical Settlement Averages $75,000 - $250,000. Common serious injuries are; injures resulting in loss of limbs, minor brain injuries, any injuries causing temporary paralysis
Severe Injuries - Typical Settlement Averages several hundred thousand to several million. Common severe injuries are; spinal injuries, brain injuries, any injuries causing permanent paralysis, or any injury that impairs cognitive function, injuries requiring lifetime care.
Remember, these are average compensation payouts. Your case may be higher or lower than the average compensation amounts depending upon the facts of your claim.
How Is a Car Accident Settlement Calculated?
In Georgia, there are three types of damages available:
Economic (special) damages
Non-economic (general) damages
Economic or special damages, are easily quantifiable and can be added up by calculating losses:
Property damage or lost property
Other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of injury
GRAPHIC Courtesy of https://www.enjuris.com/georgia/injury-settlement-value.html
Lost wages may also require future calculations if your ability to work has changed. Our lawyers can refer you to an actuary or economist to figure out what you would have earned over your expected lifetime, had you been able to continue working.
This type of compensation is far more difficult to calculate. How does one attach a number to subjective concepts like “pain and suffering,” “anxiety and stress,” “loss of enjoyment,” or “loss of consortium”?
This is why juries can return wildly different judgments for similar cases; everyone has a personal idea of what something is worth. Averaging those numbers together is often how juries approach this calculation.
There are two ways that the insurance companies approach this calculation:
The multiplier approach (the insurance company will add up special damages and multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 4 — or 5, if injuries are especially grievous)
Daily rate (or per diem)
The Multiplier Approach
How high will the multiplier be? That depends on:
How serious your injuries are
How quickly you’re expected to recover
How your injuries affect your daily life
How well those injuries were documented by medical professionals
The diagnosis and prognosis
Whether you will experience ongoing issues
How much fault is apportioned to the other party
Remember, Georgia is a comparative negligence state, meaning that if you’re more than 50% responsible for your injuries, then you will be barred from recovering damages.
This method is used most often by insurance companies when trying to calculate damages. Most likely, your attorney will have to argue for a higher multiplier.
Daily Rate or Per Diem
This method demands a dollar amount for each day you live with your injuries. Juries are often told to use their best judgment when calculating this type of award, so it can help to use a plaintiff’s daily pay rate as a starting point. This method, however, is difficult for longer-term injuries. Your attorney may make the argument that living with this pain is at least worth what you would make during a normal workday.
Punitive Damages in Georgia
Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for egregious or reckless conduct. These are capped at $250,000 (with 75% paid into the state treasury), unless it’s a product liability case, or the defendant acted intentionally or under the influence of mind-altering substances.
These awards are rare and not meant to serve as compensation to the plaintiff. They must also be asked for in the initial complaint; a request for punitive damages cannot be tacked on later in the process.